Sexual Purity Posts

Let’s Talk About Talking

Proverbs 16:24 – ““Kind words are like honey — sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.””

“People who want to improve a relationship often talk about talking. That is, they bring up what happened, what went wrong in their experience, and come up with solutions. Here are some examples:

  • Remember when I said I needed space and listening, not solutions and homework assignments? It happened again; let’s fix this.
  • I don’t want to sound childish, but I’ve been trying to be more open about the job problem, and it still feels as if you want just good news from me about work. I really need you to hang in there with me.
  • It feels as if you’re impatient with me when I go to a deeper level now, as if I ought to have my act together. That’s hard for me; are you really feeling that way?
  • When I brought up the problems I have with my dad, you lost eye contact and started talking about something else. This is really important for me; are you okay with all this? Is there a way I can do this differently, or do you not want me to talk about this with you?

If you want a better relationship, be a team player with the other person. In responding, you must have no hint of judgment or a critical spirit. You are forging a way to connect, and never forget that the “we” comes first. You want to recruit the person to vulnerable language, to help solve the glitch and move on.

Acknowledge that maybe you aren’t being clear or that this is new for both of you. Vulnerability works both ways. If the other person feels a lot of performance pressure to “get it right,” she won’t be able to speak from her heart. And you are after a heart-to-heart attachment; that’s the whole idea.

I have coached many husbands on how to be empathic. Lots of them don’t naturally know the right things to say, so I give them some examples that I hope trigger and resonate with what they really feel toward their wives. Statements like these are good examples:

  • That must have been hard.
  • Tell me more.
  • How did that make you feel?
  • That’s tough; anything I can do to help?

These are simple things to say that convey understanding and support. Guys being guys, they often say, “Great idea,” and write them down so they can remember them. The problem comes when they run through the list and recite them!

Most wives catch on in about three seconds, and then there is a talk about the talk about the talk. So let the person know, “You don’t have to do this right; I certainly don’t myself. I just need to know you feel something positive toward me when I am feeling negative.” And that covers many errors.

This devotional is drawn from Beyond Boundaries, by Dr. John Townsend.

Journal Through Recovery, Sexual Purity Posts

Journal Through Recovery Entry 34: I Thought They Went Away

I think I missed something. Or maybe its just my screwed up decision making. Regardless of why, I most definitely didn’t completely understand the purpose of Step Four. Let me explain. I think I told you that Step Four was the step I most dreaded after I started working through the steps. I truly didn’t want to have to face my own flaws. I knew they were there but just felt that it was easier to blame God for why I was the way I was than actually look at myself and how my character defects kept me in a never ending cycle of sin and shame. The only upside of Step Four to me was that I at least would have dealt with those character flaws and they would be gone and therefore I wouldn’t have to worry about them anymore. That is what I believed would happen.

This may come as a surprise to some of you. I truly hope not. They didn’t all go away. I know, shocked aren’t you? Ok, you can stop laughing at me now. I really thought that they were gone. Or maybe I told myself that so I wouldn’t dwell on what they are. Manipulation, lying, pride. Things I didn’t want to continue to face. Somehow, they are still there. They show up when I am stressed, angry, isolated, emotional, even when I am just not strong enough on my own and don’t give God control in the moment .  Basically at the same times they used to show up before recovery.  So what is the difference between now and recovery?

Let me try to muddle through this. Recently, I was talking with my wife. We were just catching up at the end of a long day. The TV was on, a normal evening. That’s how it started, normal. Anyway, I wasn’t really paying attention to what was on the TV but did hear a female begin to speak in an English accent. To set the stage here, one of my affair partners was English. My wife had actually spoken with her. In an instant, without forethought or delay, I started changing to another station. I was really good, or so I thought. I stated how I had just remembered we had one of the shows we liked saved and I wanted to start it.

My wife got silent. Dangerously silent. She said, and I quote, “I know what you are doing.” I said what do you mean? She told me not to insult her intelligence. She said I was trying to manipulate her by turning the channel. Ouch.

Yeah, manipulation. Right up there at the top of my list of character flaws. The only problem is, everyone close to me knows my flaws. I have named them for them. They have agreed and added a little more clarification to make sure I knew they recognize them when they manifest. Exactly what my wife just did. She called me out. I wish I could say I recognized it, immediately dealt with it, and know I won’t respond that way again.  I didn’t. I tried to say no, I want to watch a show. You know…manipulate.  Again.

So I stopped, listened again, listened to myself, and heard the truth. I was manipulating. I was going back to a character flaw. I thought when I brought them to God they were truly gone. Actually, they are part of my sin nature. I have lived in that nature for so long, my character flaws won’t just magically disappear. I do have one thing going for me now. I know what they are, so do my loved ones, and we can address them. The manipulation is still there. However, my recognition of it is heightening. Thank you, God, for that.

Sexual Purity Posts

Four Things I Learned That Helped My Marriage

Four Things I Learned That Helped My Marriage
by Wood F.
Oringinally posted to The City on June 3, 2012

I’m a fella who did not get what he deserved – I got grace, forgiveness and love.  Real love.  I’m coming up on a very important, personal anniversary this June 15th.  As I refect on these last 21 years of my life, I see some things God had done in the process of transforming me.

I’d like to share just some things, not all of them – and my sharing does not imply that I have acheived perfection in these things, just progress.  Perhaps by my sharing these things, you will find something helpful that you can usetoo.

First, I learned to communicate with my wife.  Nothing strikes utter fear and terror in the heart of a husband than to hear his wife say, “Honey, we have to talk”.  But, I learned how to listen to her and hear more than her words – I learned to hear her heart.  She learned that I am not always in touch with how I’m feeling or thinking about something, so she learned to help me get in touch with my own thoughts and feelings.  It wasn’t easy to accomplish this – but, we worked at it, hard, everyday – and still do.  I learned the art of communication cannot be accomplished passively.

Second, I learned that Betty is My Bride.  I call her that often, in fact, as often as I can.  I find it changes my attitude towards her.  Calling her “my wife” just seems like I’m identifying a possession, but calling her “My Bride”, well, that’s different.  I see her as a personal gift from God, like Eve was to Adam.  If I ever want to know how God feels about me, I just look over at her, and there is living, breathing proof that God knows me, cares for me and loves me.  I learned that when she challenges me and calls me into accountability, that I should listen to her. I find that if I’m getting defensive about something, then that usually means she is right.  I don’t always respond well to that kind of chastening, but I have discovered that she sees things I often overlook.  She fills in my blind spots for me and if I listen to her and heed her advice, life improves in many ways.  Her challenges to me, often save me from making foolish decisions.  See what a gift from God she is?  She is My Bride.

Third – I learned to spend time with her.  In fact, I would rather hang out with her than anyone else.  I would rather sit next to her on our Love Seat, than do anything else in the whole world.  That is a fact.  I would rather go to a movie, eat out, watch TV, clean house, do laundry, cook, drive somewhere, go camping or pretty much anything – as long as I can do it with her.  She is my best friend.  I carve out moments of the evening, days of the weekends, nights of the weekdays – just to be with her.  I text her, email her, call her – just to be in touch. She is priority number one.

Fourth, I learned to be her encourager.  I love nothing better than finding out what she would like to learn or experiment with, and make sure she can do it.  I love to brag on her talents, encourage her explorations and cheer her on when she is doing what she loves.  I don’t really care if what she wants to do costs money – so what?  I spend it on her and for her.  If I earn extra money by doing some side jobs, I love to give it to her or spend it on her.

My basic philosophy that guides me in all this is found in Ephesians 5:25-33

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. After all, no one ever hated his own body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.

What that Scripture tells me, is that I am to give up my life for My Bride, just like Jesus gave up His life for His Bride.  I am to do all I can to make certain she knows how precious she is.  I am to do all I can to make certain she knows how loved she is.

If your marriage is in need of revival – if you feel your marriage is in trouble and you are looking for a sliver of hope to hang onto, then remember these words from Isaiah 42:3a, “

A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.

God wants to your marriage to be a source of peace, contentment, restoration, fulfilment, satisfaction – and so many other good things.  Marrage is supposed to be a blessing.  If you will surrender your will to God, and allow Him to be in charge, your marriage can be so much more than you ever thought it could be.  You cannot do this apart from God.

I guess my words are meant mostly for husbands, so, fellas, get out there and love your Bride the way Jesus loves His church.